Change Your Beliefs, Change Your Brain Chemistry: Evidence

By Mike Bundrant • 3 min read

Disclaimer: Although the title to this post sounds like personal growth hype, it isn’t. The scientific research cited is legitimate. The real life application discussed at the end of the article may prove very helpful, but contains a flaw, as you will gather from my self-reported experiments.

beliefs

If you could push a button in your brain and rewire your bad circuitry, would you?

There isn’t such a button. However, altering beliefs comes close. In fact, beliefs alone have been shown to regulate brain chemistry. Groups of people holding different beliefs exhibit very different brain activity in response to the same chemical.

The Belief-Altering Research

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Double Trouble: Two Bad Habits That Kill Relationships

By Mike Bundrant • 3 min read

how to overcome shame

Your feelings are hurt.

That’s understandable.

What you do at this point could make the difference between resolution and even more hurt feelings.

Take the wrong turn and your feelings will continue to be trampled upon. Your relationship will suffer, according to research.

Take the right turn and you have a chance – a real chance at resolution. Take the right turn consistently and you could have one of the healthiest, mutually satisfying relationships on the planet.

Continue reading… »



Couples Experiment: Treat Each Other Like Strangers

By Mike Bundrant • 1 min read

Inner Adult

Attention couples: Try this for one day.

Disclaimer: If your partner is not a safe person, this activity may not be appropriate.

Here is the experiment: Pretend your partner is a (safe) stranger. Act like you just met him or her.

Therefore, you don’t really ‘know’ where he or she is coming from. It’s as if you’ve just met…

Why do this?

1. It makes life more interesting.

2. This activity fosters a new boundary in the relationship, which is often a good thing.

How do you treat strangers? More importantly, how do you NOT treat strangers?

With strangers, you typically do not:

1. Assume they are trying to make your life difficult.

2. Get so annoyed by everyday behaviors.

3. Stand ready for an argument.

With safe strangers, you typically do:

1. Give them the benefit of the doubt.

2. Mind your manners.

3. Put your best foot forward.

4. Ask more questions from a place of curiosity.

In other words, with safe strangers, we are typically prepared to be interested and polite. Politeness theory suggests that being polite regulates social distance. When you are enmeshed with your partner, polite distance may be appropriate.

Better yet, we are often curious because we have fewer preconceived notions and no past negative experiences that haunt our thoughts.

Aren’t these attributes appropriate for a relationship of any age? You can go there in your current relationship, regardless of how long you have been together.

This is a fun activity to do together with your partner. And if your partner cannot/will not participate, then you can do this one solo.

So, try it for one day. Or, try it for an hour one evening. Then, tweet about your experience with hashtag:

#couplestranger

If you like this article, then like my Facebook Page to keep up with all my writing. To learn about the #1 online couples program, check out the Dating, Relating, Mating program.



Study Reveals Key to Better Decision Making

By Mike Bundrant • 1 min read

 

A 2013 study published in Psychological Science suggests that understanding both the source and the relevance of your emotions can have a serious effect on how much those emotions can sway your decision-making.

Not only that, this understanding may affect your willingness to take risks as well.

decisions

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The Outside World Determines Your Thoughts

By Mike Bundrant • 1 min read

 

images

While it may feel as though your conscious thoughts are insulated from your surroundings, a recent study conducted by researchers at San Francisco State University has found otherwise. The study asked that participants look at an image, without thinking of the word associated with the image, or how many letters were in the word.

While this seems like a simple task, 80 percent of participants who were presented with the image of a sun automatically thought of the word “sun,” and 50 percent of participants silently counted to three (the number of letters in the word “sun”).

Continue reading… »



Six Smart Steps to Express and Resolve Negative Feelings

By Mike Bundrant • 2 min read

Smileys on boxes

Putting feelings into words produces measurable therapeutic effects in your brain.

Here are six steps to doing it well.

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We Judge Each Other in Milliseconds

By Mike Bundrant • 1 min read

judge others milliseconds

In NLP we maintain that good communication skills go a long way toward establishing relationships with new people in your life. Even the best communication skills are implemented after our initial judgment of people, however.

There are  individuals that make it so much easier to build relationships of trust from the very first impression. Some people are naturally more prone to opening up and having personal discussions – even moments after meeting.

Then of course there are the people who trigger a more cautious approach. These people make us immediately hesitant, if not altogether leery, of being in their presence.

How quickly do we make such judgments? According to new scientific research, the human brain can make a judgment about a person’s trustworthiness in milliseconds, without even consciously registering their face.

Building on previous studies about quick judgments based on prevailing physical characteristics, Jonathan Freeman, an Assistant Professor at New York University’s Department of Psychology, took such theories a step further.

As a senior author for a paper set to be published in the Journal of Neuroscience, Freeman reveals the results of a series of experiments using both real and computer generated faces to determine how quickly the average person would judge trustworthiness. The surprising findings indicated that the unconscious mind would make an assessment without the conscious mind actually seeing the face.

The experiment required monitoring the brain’s activity and reactions in the region believed to be responsible for social and emotional conduct. Computer generated faces were created using facial features most likely to be considered untrustworthy, such as shallow cheekbones and low inner eyebrows.

Two groups of participants were involved in the experiment. The first group were shown the faces of real people, interspersed with the artificially composed faces, and asked to rate their level of trustworthiness, based on facial appearance alone.

The answers were not at all random or scattered. The group strongly agreed on which faces could be trusted and which could not.

The second group of participants was asked to view images through a brain scanner. In order to fool the conscious mind into not registering the images, a technique called “backwards masking” was used. Each facial photograph appeared for mere milliseconds, immediately followed by an irrelevant image to mask the facial image. The images were shown in rapid succession and the participants were unaware they had even viewed any faces at all.

The brain activity however, showed a distinctly different reaction. The participants in the second experiment had unconsciously made judgments matching the first group. The difference being, these snap assessments were made without any guidance from the conscious mind.

If you like this article, then like my Facebook Page to keep up with all my writing.



How To Handle Two Kinds of Failure

By Mike Bundrant • 1 min read

beastI used to see failure as “me.”

If something went wrong, I was the point of failure. Failure was internal, an inevitable part of who I was. I did not know I was seeing myself as failure. If I had known, I might have been able to question what I was doing.

At any rate, this unconscious view was draining. Life was a burden and I was the donkey.

Now, I see failure in one of two ways:

1) Failure can be a real event.

As in – “I gave it my best effort and did not accomplish my goal.” For example, you might run your very best race and someone simply runs faster than you. You failed to win. You lost because you did not have the ability to run fast enough to win that particular race against that particular person.

This is a kind of failure to deal with realistically and accept. You did your best. What did you learn? How can you adapt? What is there to celebrate?

When you can say, “I put forth my best effort. I gave it my all and lost,” it hurts. But this hurt is very, very different than the self-imposed failure of self-sabotage. You can ultimately recover and live with no regrets when you know you’ve done your best.

2) The second kind of failure is an attitude that involves self-sabotage.

I sometimes indulge in this one – an attitude that prevents me from running my best race and letting the chips fall where they may. This attitude is full of excuses, as if I am trying to justify losing so I can indulge in feeling bad.

beastWith this kind of failure, I am finding that it is most useful to visualize it as a little green monster and punch it right in the face. It is not who I am. It’s an attitude. I can symbolize this attitude that doesn’t represent who I really am – in the form of a little green monster. It’s super goofy, yes. But it gives me a focal point – a way to contain the little beast so that I can knock it out.

If you ask me, there is an attitude that is lost in the world of clinical mental health. This attitude is this: Get off your butt and punch failure in the face! Perhaps there’s nothing more effective for self-imposed failure and the host of negative emotions that surround it:

1) Recognize self-imposed failure. Distinguish it from failure caused by real limitations in spite of your very best effort.

2) Knock it out.

Where is this little monster hiding? Behind your excuses.

It works when you see it this way. People in the Punch Failure in the Face Facebook Group are doing it every day. Join us.



20 Mental Health Symptoms of Food-Borne Metal Toxicity

By Mike Bundrant • 3 min read

366We typically think that our food supply has to be safe for human consumption, right?

Although this is an assumption that makes us feel better, it is one that could be dangerous. There are, in fact, quite a few toxic metals that are common in our food, air, water and other consumer goods. Known as “heavy metals,” these substances could be affecting your mental health.

Metals are naturally occurring in the earth, and flow through the food chain, ultimately finding their way to your dinner plate – and even into your glass of wine, according to WebMD.

Here, we will tell you about three of these metals.

Continue reading… »



3 Sure Signs of Inner Conflict

By Mike Bundrant • 1 min read

innerconflict

 

Is it inner conflict that holds you back?

Inner conflict can stop you in your tracks and keep you preoccupied with all the wrong things. Rather than produce real, rewarding results in the world, inner conflict would have you spin out on your inner dynamics.

One of the keys to overcoming inner conflict and it’s frustrating symptoms is to identify it. You cannot resolve inner conflict intentionally until you know how it operates in your psyche.

Toward that end, here are three sure signs of inner conflict.

1. The Big Obvious Sign of Inner Conflict

The big obvious sign of inner conflict is that you have a critical inner voice that opposes what you consciously want. The voice tells you things like:

Don’t bother.
You’re an idiot for thinking you can do that.
You’re going to fail.
You’ll never amount to anything.

Here’s the scenario: You want something. You have an inner voice that appears to oppose what you want. This is a sure sign of inner conflict.

2. Inner Conflict That Makes You A Quitter

When you set goals, it makes perfect sense to keep a positive attitude, overcome obstacles and keep going until you get there.

Some of us, however, quit goals too easily. We may suddenly stop trying, “forget” to do what we need to do, or even doubt that it was a good idea in the first place. Quitting goals is another sign that you are conflicted about what you really want.

3. Inner Conflict That Keeps You Spinning Your Wheels

You find yourself saying something like, “On the one hand I want this, but on the other hand I want that. Inner conflict such as this can make decision-making brutal. In fact, it can halt the process entirely, leaving you spinning on your conflict indefinitely.

What to do about inner conflict?

1.  Acknowledge it.
2.  Identify any elements of self-sabotage.
3.  Communicate with your inner parts to find out what they want.
4.  Find resolution through negotiation with yourself.
5. Look for opportunities to fail, then Punch Failure in the Face! I know this last step may seem odd – but this attitude of not accepting failure is priceless. Be kind, gentle and accepting with yourself – but knock out failure with abandon.

 



 
 

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